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San Francisco 11, Us 4, Sacramento 3, Patrick 3, Ron Miguel 2, Eric Brooks 2, Danny Campbell 2, San Franciscan 1, California 1, Entire City 1, Uniformly 1, The Board 1, Uniform 1, Citi 1, Lori Lineman 1, The City 1, Michael Raisin 1, Aaron Peskin 1, Ionin 1, Stuart 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    March 16, 2013
    1:30 - 2:00am PDT  

commission, anyone could come forward at that time well past the deadline to appeal, and request that the commission consider the negative declaration. in addition, the legislation would require this commission to micro manage planning department staff. it would require that this commission would have to approve every single change to any administrative staff bulletin, to any checklist, to any form, to any processing guideline that planning department staff came up with. i'm sure that there are other issues. we've only had two days to analyze it. this legislation had a total at the top called the community alternative c-e-q-a legislation. i'm not sure what community it's referring to, but it's certainly not the broad san francisco community that wants our park and open space to be improved, that wants people to be able to fix up their homes, and that doesn't want a dramatic increase in city
bureaucracy delays and costs. commissioners, my legislation before you today is a balanced plan that will finally bring clarity and transparency to our c-e-q-a appeal process. this results from enormous almost six months worth of work with planning department staff, with members of the community, and with opponents of the legislation. i have done exactly what you asked me to do, engage in outreach and dialogue, and to be flexible. i made many amendments, and this legislation deserves your support. i'm happy to answer any questions that you have. >> thank you very much. are you able to stay for a little bit? >> i will stay. >> thank you. >> good evening, commissioners, sara jones from the environmental planning section of the planning department. as you've heard this evening from supervisor wiener, this
ordinance was developed with the help of our staff to address a crucial deficit that we have in our procedures right now under chapter 31. chapter 31 of the administrative code governs all of our c-e-q-a review work in san francisco in addition to the c-e-q-a guidelines themselves, of course. our department remains very firm in the belief that the current lack of rules is really to no one's benefit around these appeals of negative declarations and categorical exemptions. we've had procedures codified for several years for environmental impact reports, but nothing codified for these other types of c-e-q-a documents. with the lack of procedures, as supervisor wiener mentioned, a city attorney opinion is needed to determine the timeliness of each and every appeal. no one, not the planner, not the clerk of the board, not the public, not the project sponsor can answer confidently when an
appeal of the environmental document is or is not timely or allowed. since 2010, approximately a quarter of attempted exemption appeals were found to be inappropriately filed. that is, not timely or not right. during that time, zero of the attempted appeals of environmental impact reports were determined to be filed in an untimely way. and the reason for that is that applicants or appellants, excuse me, know exactly when they can file e-i-r appeals, but not the other types of documents. so, the proposal that is at hand right now would accomplish three major changes. first, of course, establish procedures to clarify when appeal could be made. second, and this really goes hand in hand with clarifying the time in which an appeal could be filed. there is an increase in notification of when an approval action has occurred
triggering that time in which an appeal could be filed. and overall, third, it increases the predictability of the process. it would allow the review process for projects to proceed even during the time that an appeal of an environmental document is filed. no actions could occur that would result in any environmental impact, but the process could continue to move forward. these changes are not intended in any way to limit the ability of anybody to appeal c-e-q-a determinations. in fact, we would expect that the result of these changes would actually be an increase in c-e-q-a appeals to the board of supervisors. that's okay. the appeals process should be accessible to all. and it's accessible, we will likely see more appeals. so, while our department is recommending a couple of minor tweaks to the ordinance, i really do want to emphasize that we strongly support the overall effort.
it is crucial to have clear c-e-q-a -- a clear c-e-q-a process and this proposal would do just that. now, anne marie rodgers will review the evolution of the ordinance over the last several months, and during the time since you considered it last. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. for my presentation i'd like to discuss three item. first i'd like to review your request from the last hearing, what's happened in the interim period, and finally what our department recommendations are for today. but first, what did the commission request last time? those of hpc and this commission were pretty uniform in their recommendations. add clarity to what is the first discretionary action that would trigger the beginning for the ability to appeal. two, consider extending the appeal period. and three, ensure longer appeal periods for projects that don't have notice. and finally, as you heard, conduct further outreach. fourth, discuss the outreach
first. as your packet describes, the broad group of community organizations, environmental groups, and folks from historic resource groups have participated. the majority of the comments in the ordinance were received in the fall. in your packet is one more recent letter with seven concerns and i'll be handing out additional letters that we've gotten since the packet was published. the comments are quite diverse and cover a range of different concerns from process related concerns to very detailed and specific legal concerns. to help you understand these comments, the department categorized them in and attempted to catalog the comments in exhibit c. exhibit c lists over 54 types of comments and attempts to describe whether the proposal has been amended in response to that request. in general, this chart shows there have been a number of concerns raised and a number of revisions, i guess a ton of those revisionses that have been made.
but, of course, not every ~ request for change has happened. as you request for further outreach, this additional engagement and iterative changes certainly did happen. next, you requested to consider extending the appeal period. this change has been considered, but has not yet been made uniformly. what has changed is where appeal noticing requirements have been met, the appeal where they have not been met, the appeal window would be open, meaning there is requirements and if you don't meet them, the clock doesn't start running. what has not yet changed is uniformly extending the appeal window for all appeal types. the proposal is at 20 days. today we're going to ask you to ask the supervisor to continue extending that to 30. and lastly, the commission asks for clarity as to the trigger for the appeal window. this is now been definitively defined. the window for appeal would begin at the first approval
action and depending on the type of projects. for exemptions of private projects, the first approval would either be at a publicly noticed hearing by the planning commission or the zoning administrator and these would include your dr hearings. or if there were no hearing, at planning, the trigger would be the first approval at another city body that was publicly noticed. or if that didn't occur, there was no publicly noticed hearing, the first approval would be with the building permit. so, three general trigger starts, public planning hearing, [speaker not understood] or hearing permit. for exemptions associated with public projects, the first approval would be at a publicly noticed hearing and again, if no notice for hearing occurred, it would be the decision by a public body that relies on our exemption and commits the city to this course of action. all public projects would be required to post notice of exemption on our department website.
that notice then occurs, the appeal window remains open. those are how the proposal addresses past concerns of the commission. the [speaker not understood] k24 also describes issues such as the board of the decision body and notice for plan areas that are over 20 acres in size. staff can describe those issues in more detail if the commission is interested. but for now i'd like to move on to the department's recommendation for this proposed ordinance. as explained, the city has been in need of clarity on how c-e-q-a appeals should proceed since the state law changed in 2002 to allow appeals to the board. this proposal fairly provides both additional notification and additional clarity about how to appeal. it would enable valid c-e-q-a appeals to be considered, but would not utterly derail approvals when a c-e-q-a appeal is found to be either
overturned by the board or not timely by allowing these approvals to continue while a c-e-q-a appeal is under consideration. the planning commission has recommended approval of similar proposals in 2006 and both the planning commission and the hpc recommended approval of an earlier draft in 2010 that was contained more elements. but that said, the department is requesting two additional modifications today. first as i said, increasing the appeal window to 30 days. and as you know currently the appeal window for e-i-rs appears to be functional and it is only 20 days. but this type of c-e-q-a document has much greater process and therefore we feel a longer window for the simpler documents with less process is appropriate. to ensure consistency, though, and to cut down on confusion we're recommending that all appeal windows be that uniform 30 days. second, we're asking for increased clarity for when the board is to speak with a decision making body. this may be one of the areas of
greatest concerns. since state c-e-q-a law does not require a separate appeal, when the elected body is approving a c-e-q-a document, no separate appeal process would be required under the proposal. c-e-q-a issues could still be raised when a board is considering the actual approval action. and we feel this is a logical avenue. consider c-e-q-a and the project approval at the same hearing together. that said, to assist the board, the public, the sponsor, the department to understand how these issues would be raised at the board hearing, the department recommends codifying procedures for submitting c-e-q-a related concerns for these hearings in a manner that is consistent with how the clerk currently prepares the board packet. this is consistent with the proposed legislation's logic for submitting materials for the other appeal types that are actual appeals. and explained for the combined
hearings where the board is the decision making body. with these two amendments, the department recommends approval and we're available for questions when you're ready. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> okay, opening it up for public comment, and i have a bunch of speaker cards here. if we can have everyone line up on the right side of the room, there will be no confusion about who is speaking next. calling names ron miguel, dennis moskovian, my apologies, lori lineman, eric brooks, michael raisin, danny campbell, and howard wong. commissioners, ron miguel. i'd like to thank the supervisor for the outreach made. i was at attendance at a number
of the meetings. it was outreached to a large variety of both supporters and those in opposition and those who were before you when this subject came up to you before. i think it was thorough. i think it was well attended. and i think it was well listened to, particularly as the supervisor just told you, there have been at least 34 changes since it was originally involved. i have been reading legislation of one type or another since the late '50s when i was a lobbyist in sacramento. and then involved in c-e-q-a and nepa situations, 16 years as president of par, and been with the housing action coalition and, of course, when i was on the other side of the
podium. one of the problems is clarity and certainty, and no one knows particularly when it deals with cad x's and negative declarations where that certainty is, and there absolutely has been no clarity. regardless of what you may have heard from some members of the public, this is not a change or revision of c-e-q-a. if you want to get into that, go to sacramento. that's not what this is about. i have family members come to me constantly, maybe because i'm now the senior in the family, and show me an agreement, a contract, policy, land use papers, and say, what does this really mean? and we all have that, and we don't need that in the
processes and procedures that we deal with in the city. we should know what something means when we look at it. we should know what actions can be taken, when and where they can be taken. as the supervisor mentioned to you, there is an expansion of the noticing requirements. certainly the 30 days i fully agree with. i have not had a chance to take a look at supervisor kim's legislation. to my knowledge, this has been no general outreach. i don't know who her office has been talking to. a majority of buildings in san francisco are 50 years old or more. anything that deals with that is going to deal with the entire city. if you think you're going to be late tonight, just think what's going to happen if that
legislation went through. yeah, i see the smirks and smiles up there. that type of legislation results in a city frozen in time. it does not allow for the normal, logical, thoughtful planned change that is necessary for san francisco. this legislation, as i say, works. more than anything else, what we have now is confusion, object obfuscation and uncertainty. and we can't let it continue. thank you. ~ good afternoon, commissioners -- good evening, i guess, commissioners. eric brooks again representing
san francisco green party, the local grassroots organization in our city. and i've been coordinating the community c-e-q-a improvement team that you received an e-mail from earlier or yesterday. first i want to clarify, we are not against improving our access to c-e-q-a locally and improving the process. we understand that there needs to be a clearer trigger for appeals instead of the open-ended process right now. we understand that we need to clarify this stuff so it's better for both sides of this debate. because we are not well served by planning staff and the board of supervisors clerk and the city attorney having to make things up as they go along. it is true. and by the way, just to clarify, where the kim version came from, supervisor kim was very gracious to make sure that
the piece of legislation that she is putting forward was vetted by the people that sent you that note, over 30 organizations, over 50 active organizers from all across the spectrum, parks groups, neighborhood groups, environmental groups, many environmental c-e-q-a attorneys were involved in this including attorneys from center for biological diversity, [speaker not understood], we also had some advice from stuart flash man, sue hester and susan [speaker not understood] as the note said to you. so, the key issue here is not that supervisor wiener didn't take the first step of meeting with us. it was a little rocky at first, but we did have three full meetings with supervisor wiener, and plenty of time to be heard. and supervisor wiener did, indeed, make 34 amendments to his legislation and we just heard about the 30 days, and that's an improvement. we still do need 60 days for
unnoticed projects. but the 30 days is an improvement. however, when it really comes down to it, we have some very key, very important things that we -- that entire coalition is insisting on. and on none of those key issues were any substantial amendments made in supervisor wiener's legislation. the big stuff wasn't changed like the first approval trigger. that's a no go for this coalition. we need to have a clear trigger, but it needs to be a final approval of a project, not a first approval. that would gut a lot of process out. so, stuff like that was not changed. once we saw that that was the case, we knew that we had to communicate with another sponsor to get something to move us forward. that's what came of the -- that's where the kim legislation is from, not from aaron peskin, from a very large
group of neighborhood groups, environmental groups, social -- >> thank you for your time. thank you. commissioners, my name is dennis [speaker not understood]. i'm a native san franciscan. i'm an active member of both the san francisco labor council for decades and the san francisco community and a parks advocate. and for years had to struggle to help save our community from excessive development. i only give you that introduction for one reason. i felt like supervisor wiener sort of marginalized those of us in the community by his implicit criticism of people, as well as miguel's criticism of obstructionists. i don't consider myself either, and i wouldn't characterize other people that way and i didn't appreciate supervisor using the standard political trick to just sort of
marginalize citizen comments. and i think it's pre-sum shuns, frankly, even though i have read a draft of kim's legislation. i haven't read what was finally submitted. ~ i was part of the process and met both with in one or two meetings with wiener, but i also met with a group of attorneys and other c-e-q-a folks in developing alternatives because of specific concerns. so, let me address my concerns. unfortunately i have to wear glasses. my first concern is the first approval. it has taken all the way down to this point to hear that the possibility is that supervisor wiener is going to adjust his first approval. but as i understand it, it's not all together clear what it exactly is going to be, and i did hear staff's description of first approval. but his first approval was a building permit.
it would come out of notice. so, who is going to notify people if the first approval is an actual building permit because it didn't go through any of the process. secondly, until today, supervisor wiener's proposal refused to budge beyond 20 days and even here in his presentation he said only if you direct him to do the 30 days will he consider it. finally, there is a question of a series of approvals if a project is approved, and then later it's changed, who decides what kind of changes will qualify for an appeal? who decides at what level those changes become substantial enough? and is that something that's going to be notified to the public? so, i think for a number of reasons i would urge at least a couple of thing. answers to these questions. and secondly, that the commission carefully weigh both pieces of legislation since i'm sure they're going to both
march forward so that we don't end up with some kind of a situation in which you guys have approved one, and then there is another one before the board and there is a split at the board over these, but we don't actually get the kind of improvements to [speaker not understood] and appellants that we need. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. my name is michael [speaker not understood]. i'm a member of the park merced action coalition, i live in park merced and i consider c-e-q-a a very important tool to protect the environment and for citizens of san francisco to be enfranchised in the democratic process. and i do feel that supervisor wiener's legislation, which i have followed dutifully as a member of the community c-e-q-a improvement team as well, is
going to endanger the participatory democracy that we're entitled to. i think that two things have really struck me in this process. since november 29th, this commission unanimously asked supervisor wiener to reach out to neighborhood groups and to incorporate their concerns in his amended legislation. the first is that it was very difficult to find out when these meetings were appointed that a number of our organizations weren't invited. we had to hear about it through other organizations that networked with us, and that meetings were set, then canceled and then met anyway without those people who were no longer able to attend. the thing that struck me the most was that this group of 30 organizations was incredibly impressive to me in term of
their intelligence, their organization, their substantive issues that they brought forward in an articulate manner. and that the other thing that impressed me was that supervisor wiener ignored all of them, all of the substantive issues that were brought forward, he said, well, my plan considers that already. i found this stonewalling atrocious. and on all these substantive points, the one that's been brought up already about the first approval trigger which we consider totally unacceptable would allow developers to come up with a permissible request for approval, the time clock would start, and then many changes that developers who we might be concerned about would be brought forward at the end and there would be no chance to question the appeal at the end.
also, one of the sections that really concerned us was that all appeals must be heard at a full formal board appeal hearing without exception. that's one thing we are very strong about and that he has not budged on. another is the current practice of allowing new projects to avoid environmental review when they are within a large project that has already received environmental review. and that such boot strapping of new projects into old approvals should be greatly curtailed. i ask that you please consider that your request to supervisor wiener to reach out -- >> sorry, sir, but your time is up. has not worked and please consider -- >> thank you. thank you. good evening, president fong, commissioners, secretary ionin. danny campbell with the sheet metal workers local union 104. first, i must make it absolutely clear that sheet
metal workers local 104 stands with the rest of organized labor e the environmental community and affordable housing advocates in opposition to the efforts in sacramento to destroy c-e-q-a. it's unfortunate that supervisor wiener's much needed ordinance has undeservedly been caught up in this debate. i'm here tonight to offer our support for supervisor wiener's proposed ordinance. it's reasonable that san francisco's implementation of c-e-q-a will, with the passage of this ordinance, become more in line with the practice of other jurisdictions throughout the state. and finally, i just want to wish everybody a happy st. patrick's day. as you know, this sunday is st. patrick's day. so, happy st. patrick's day to everybody. thank you. >> thank you. howard wong with san francisco tomorrow. several days before last
thanksgiving the c-e-q-a legislation that's introduced, it was to be brought to the land use committee the following monday and to the full board the following tuesday. several commissions were told that it was benign, harmless, wasn't really worth looking at, just pass it. several commissions said, well, we don't quite understand some of these issues. what is the first triggering mechanism? what are the implications? please have discussions with others to clarify some of our concerns and the community's questions. many organizations found out about that introduction of the c-e-q-a legislation by chance because on the planning commission's agenda, the agendized item had no reference
to california environmental quality act or amendments, nothing saying c-e-q-a. it could easily have been missed. an example by process has to be very clear to all members of the public. meetings were held, but as other speakers have mentioned, meetings were canceled. san francisco tomorrow was notified tomorrow there was to be a meeting. it was canceled. we didn't hear of another meeting. by chance, somebody in city hall bumped into a planning department staffer who said, are you coming to the citi qua meeting this afternoon? and the person, what meeting is that? over supervisor wiener's meeting this afternoon. ~ c-e-q-a meeting several people decided to come by to see if there was a meeting and indeed there was. so, the rou

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